[cabfpub] For informal review: Updated Code of Conduct Ballot

Gervase Markham gerv at mozilla.org
Fri May 5 11:19:18 UTC 2017

Hi Virginia,

On 05/05/17 01:03, Virginia Fournier via Public wrote:
> Here’s an updated draft of the Code of Conduct, in response to the most
> recent round of comments.

Again, thank you for your continued work.

> Also, there’s no point in having a Code of Conduct if there aren’t
> consequences of violating it.  However, the Code is flexible enough so
> that the number and severity of violations can be taken into
> consideration when determining what consequences would be appropriate,
> if any.  For example, different consequences would be in order if
> someone makes daily death threats to someone on the public mailing list,
> than if someone accidentally calls someone a 

Did some email gateway censor your message? :-)

I'm glad that you are saying this, but the language:

"Members agree to suspend, remove or replace any of their Member
representative(s) who violate the Code, as appropriate."

still suggests that if there is any violation, suspension, removal or
replacement are the only 3 options and one of them is required. This
could be fixed by adding "warn, reprimand, " to the list, or just change
it to "If a Member representative violates the Code, Members agree to
take action appropriate to the severity of the violation."

>   * Harassing or bullying anyone verbally, physically, or sexually.
>   * Directly insulting or demeaning another person.  For purposes of
>     this Code, “demeaning" means acting in a way that reduces another
>     person's dignity, sense of self-worth or respect within the Forum.
>     /[Note: this definition is from the W3C Code of Ethics and
>     Professional Conduct]/

The unfortunate problem with this definition (W3C-originated or not) is
that it's entirely subjective. If I say "Participant X said something
which reduced my sense of self-worth", then Participant X has no
available defence, because my feelings mean this automatically qualifies
as demeaning and so a code violation - no matter how unreasonable I am

I think that the judgement of forbidden behaviours needs to be rooted,
at least as far as possible, in objective criteria. It's never possible
to be totally objective (and to do so could lead to rules-gaming) but
totally subjective doesn't work either.

It is difficult, I admit, to come up with a more objective definition of
"insulting". (This is one reason there was a successful campaign in the
UK to remove that word from the Public Order Act -
http://reformsection5.org.uk/ . "Feel Free to Insult Me!" was the slogan.)

I am trying to think of what behaviours would be forbidden by this
bullet which are not already covered by "verbal harrassment/bullying"
and the "spamming/flaming" line. If we still think this is necessary,
could we do what the law sometimes does and use the "reasonable person"

All of the other changes seem fine. :-)


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